Urban wetlands, despite their imperfections, provide natural and aesthetic landscape diversity in the built environment. We are beginning to understand and document the ecological significance of this diversity and the management challenges presented by the urban context. The cultural significance of urban wetlands has not received similar attention. The research presented in this paper explores the relationship between people and wetlands in local neighborhood settings. We surveyed residents of three urban communities in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada for their knowledge about and perceptions of a small wetland in each of their respective neighborhoods. Results of the survey show that the study participants are aware of the wetlands in their midst but are not especially observant of or knowledgeable about ‘their’ sites, nor do they visit their wetlands regularly. Yet, despite this apparent disinterest, they readily identify the wetlands as part of their neighborhoods and as assets, especially as natural features and habitat for urban wildlife. The study participants do not consider these neighborhood wetlands nuisance environments or a waste of land. Instead, respondents revealed an appreciation of the aesthetic attributes and habitat value of wetlands in the city and of urban natural spaces.
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Vol. 23 • No. 4